Another good interview with Okada in 2003 with many of his famous (among Western fans) quotes that get thrown around from time to time. At least, they used to. Nowadays, newfags are so plentiful that I don't know the last time I heard the name Otaking on /a/ excluding from myself. It's hard enough to say "otaku" without having to explain myself lately.
Anyway, this is probably the most quoted Okada interview there is. Nowadays, anons mostly just vaguely reference "Gainax guys said something like this.", or otherwise they don't even know where it comes from. But this is the actual source for a lot of these claims.
>Mr. Okada apparently said yesterday that in America, there are no mere "fans" or "consumers" of anime - there are only otaku. When I challenged him on this statement, he pointed out that here it takes effort to keep up with anime as an adult American. Hence, the effort marks adult anime fans as "otaku."
>Why is Japanese anime still sticking with the traditional large eyes, small noses, small mouths, and strangely colored big hair? Because it is an established art style (much like every artistic era's notions of beautiful art styles) that the fans love. Mr. Oshii is among those who don't like it - he also doesn't like cute female characters that encourage a growing sense of attraction and connection - however, since he can't find or develop a new style, he chooses to make anime that looks realistic instead.
>Anime industry people are, Mr. Okada said, 100% otaku.
>How have otaku in Japan changed in the past 20 years due to the influence of computers? Mr. Okada said that, in the past 10 years, otakus have seen less and less of a need to hide their otakuness. But more than this, the internet helps them connect with other otakus and make friends. However, a drawback is that they no longer sit under tremendous pressure - the dual pressure of loving anime and of yet having no outlet. The dual pressure often led to the person going out and doing something, but now, the fact they have outlets means they don't have the pressure pushing them to action any more.
>Mr. Anno ("Evangelion") apparently never read the Bible, despite the heavy Christian symbology of his work; he just (according to Mr. Okada) picked out a few interesting technical terms. Likewise, the anime creation staff might open a book on psychology and, rather than read it thoroughly, simply go through it picking out "great technical terms" to use in the anime!
>What's the difference between an fan and a creator? Mr. Okada suggested the difference is a very small one: it's the gap between "Yes, I'm 100% satisfied with watching this" versus the thinking, "Yes, this is nice but I could do it better." In some cases, even thinking, "I want to create something like this" will lead a fan to the path of creation.
>Unfortunately (Mr. Okada said), teachers in Japan teach creativity the wrong way. They tell their students to create something original. Mr. Okada suggested the best way is for a student to copy something over and over til his own' style coems out. Otakus start by copying manga or anime exactly, then start writing their own dialogue, and then go on from there.
>Finally, there was a stigma associated with being an adult; adults were, at some level, "denied." Not only is a child's growth to adulthood seen as acquiring responsibilities, but it is also seen as the person becoming more polluted or dirty.
>Hence (Mr. Okada argues), Hollywood coming-of-age movies show characters growing up and becoming mature, but Japanese culture prefers to show characters going back to the innocence of being a child.
>The Japanese society post-war, then, inherited the combined heavy weight of love of now with a deep distrust of adults.
The 1960s-1970s saw this attitude in the TV anime creative staff. The products therefore placed a sort of faith or belief in children, and likewise showed the issues and problems of adulthood.
>This resulted in the strange phenomenon that children's anime and manga became full of adult themes such as racism, rape, and poverty - and the adults did not mind the 10 year old kids seeing these issues. (When I asked Mr. Okada later for examples of these shows, he said they were too numerous to count. My impression is that shojo (girls') manga dealt frequently with issues of rape, and I know an example of a manga that touches upon racism is the classic Cyborg 009 manga)